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Nature's Way of Making Audacious Space Projects ViableBuilding a starship within the next 100 years is an audacious goal. To be successful, we need sustained funding that may be difficult to maintain in the face of economic challenges that are poised to arise during these next 100 years. Our species' civilization has only recently reached the classification as (approximately) Type-I on the Kardashev scale; that is, we have spread out from one small locality to become a global species mastering the energy and resources of an entire planet. In the process we discovered the profound truth that the two-dimensional surface of our world is not flat, but has positive curvature and is closed so that its area and resources are finite. It should come as no surprise to a Type I civilization when its planet's resources dWindle; how could they not? Yet we have gone year by year, government by government, making little investment for the time when civilization becomes violent in the unwelcome contractions that must follow, when we are forced too late into the inevitable choice: to remain and diminish on an unhappy world; or to expand into the only dimension remaining perpendicularly outward from the surface into space. Then some day we may become a Type-II civilization, mastering the resources of an entire solar system. Our species cannot continue as we have on this planet for another 100 years. Doubtless it falls on us today, the very time we intended to start building a starship, to make the late choice. We wished this century to be filled with enlightenment and adventure; it could be an age of desperation and war. What a time to begin an audacious project in space! How will we maintain consistent funding for the next 100 years? Fortunately, saving a civilization, mastering a solar system, and doing other great things like building starships amount to mostly the same set of tasks. Recognizing what we must be about during the next 100 years will make it possible to do them all.
Document ID
20110016183
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Metzger, Philip T. (NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
September 27, 2011
Subject Category
Space Sciences (General)
Report/Patent Number
KSC-2011-255
Meeting Information
100 Year Starship Study Public Symposium(Orlando, FL)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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